When it comes to this presidential election, Obama has moved so far into bad territory that measuring who’s a greater or lesser evil is a little like arguing over deck chairs on a sinking Titanic. Luckily, there are alternatives: two third party candidates who present a real threat to both Obama and Romney.
In part one of this series, we saw that today, Obama is undermining American jobs in secret, undermining our Constitutional liberties openly, and creating enemies by employing drones on people in Pakistan and nearby. In part two, we saw that Obama failed to stand up for the 99% on health care, and failed to fight against extending tax cuts for the rich in his first two years when Democrats controlled the House and in the Senate.
We have reached the point where we can no longer afford to compromise on fundamental American values. This election is much more than an opportunity to liberate ourselves from the rule of the 1%. We have a duty to do so, not only for ourselves and our great-grandchildren, but also out of respect for those who have given their lives to preserve our democracy and the American ideals of equality, liberty, and fair play. We can no longer permit any further strengthening of a government that only serves the 1% and is so blind to climate change that our descendants are already at risk.
And so, who to vote for?
There are alternatives to the Obamomney. The two third party candidates who are on enough ballots to win the popular vote are Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Both agree on the generalities of foreign policy: stop foreign military intervention; withdraw from Afghanistan immediately; significantly reduce military spending. Both agree on domestic social policy: insure women have control of their own bodies; legalize all gender relationships; legalize marijuana.
On domestic economic policy, Jill Stein offers a job stimulus program in the footsteps of FDR which would put 25 million Americans to work. She wants to move toward a more progressive tax structure. She insists on raising the taxes on capital gains, a key source of wealth for the 1%. She also wants an infinitesimal Tobin-style 0.5% per cent tax on each market transaction,which would raise $350 billion dollars for our nation and diminish speculation in currencies, commodities, and stocks. (Six EU nations already favor a tax on transactions.) Stein insists on comprehensive campaign finance reform. She is adamant that there be a publicly available healthcare plan like Medicare for every American. She is very specific and insistent on the importance of women’s issues. She is committed to stopping environmentally catastrophic practices like mountaintop removal for cheap coal and fracking for cheap natural gas. Her economic platform mobilizes the nation against climate change.
While Gary Johnson agrees with Jill Stein on the generalities of foreign policy and domestic social policy, he veers to the right on domestic economic policy and embraces a radical form of “trickle-down economics.”
Johnson opposes all stimulus programs, even for jobs. He opposes any move toward progressive taxes. He wants removal of all corporate taxes (including no new cigarette taxes). He wants removal of all taxes of capital gains. He wants no limit on campaign contributions. His policies would intensify the huge income disparity between the 1% and the rest of us, and insure domestic policies of hard-heartedness — “give me your tired, your poor, and let them starve.”
However much we might be attracted to the philosophy of libertarianism in its theoretical form, that's not what most of us really want. Jill Stein’s policies make for government of, by, and for the people, and there are two reasons why she can still win.
First, Obama supporters have to dig deep in their mental toolbox of rationalizations to pull out an excuse for voting for more of the same. Many people can’t stand Romney but are unenthusiastic about Obama, just as many Romney supporters cannot stand Obama but are equally unenthusiastic about Romney.
Jill Stein offers both of these groups a viable alternative. She would be a president who will create jobs, stop our foreign military interventions, and insure that every American has health care. That’s one reason why she still can win: she speaks for the economic interests of the 99%.
The second reason why she can still win is that Tweets and emails can mobilize us quickly enough that we can decide, as a people, to vote the basic values of our nation and restore a democracy of, by, and for the people.
The first Occupy protest to receive wide coverage was Occupy Wall Street in New York City's Zuccotti Park, which began on September 17, 2011. In just 22 days, without any motivating deadlines to meet, Occupy protests had taken place or were ongoing in over 95 cities across 82 countries, and over 600 communities in the United States. We don’t have 22 days, but we do have the attention of the nation.
We have a deadline: the election is coming.
We need, at least for this election, to put aside the differences that keep us divided: gender-relationship issues, the debate over the right of a woman over her own body, immigration, and capital punishment. We need to do this just as the ruling class puts aside internal differences to do whatever it takes to maintain power. We need to act, as one, on behalf of the 99% and our children’s grandchildren.
A surge for Jill Stein would quickly reach the “tipping point” that would bring in those voters who are only voting for Obama because they fear Romney. We don't have to "believe" to make this possible. It is the only route to regaining our democracy, and we can make it work.
The people who fear that we will vote for our interests as the 99%, who fear that we may vote for economic recovery, peace, and ecological safeguards, are Obama and Romney, along with an army of corporations and a myriad of spin doctors who will do everything they can to keep us afraid, confused, and divided.